Individuals who are accepted on a course at a UK educational establishment are offered study visas. Individual establishments are allowed to set their own IELTS band requirements for students. Some establishments accept students with a minimum band score of 3.5 or above, while more prestigious establishments require scores of 7.5 or higher.
The IELTS is an assessment that evaluates a prospective student's understanding of the English language. The test includes listening, speaking, reading and writing and uses a nine-point scoring scale. There are no pass or fail scores. A score of three indicates a limited understanding of the English language and the ability to convey only basic ideas. Higher scores indicate better proficiency with a score of nine indicating a high level of fluency and good communication skills. The better the score, the more likely that a more prestigious and competitive establishment will accept a student's score and application.
To qualify for a study visa, an applicant must be aged 16 or over and have a good understanding of the English language. In addition, the applicant must be able to prove that they have the means to pay for their course and to support themselves while they are studying. This support may come in the form of grants and loans, support from family or certain limited forms of employment.